McDonald's To Be U.K.'s Biggest Bookseller
McDonald's Happy Meal has always been controversial, as the free toy giveaways encourage children to want unhealthy food from a young age. The Happy Meal has even been banned in San Francisco, where restaurants are no longer allowed to give away free toys with meals that contain high levels of calories, sugar and fat. However, McDonald's is now trying to change the reputation of the Happy Meal by using it to encourage children to get reading - but will protective parents be won over by this new marketing tactic?
The books given away with Happy Meals this month will be six titles from the Mudpuddle Farm series by Michael Morpurgo, whose book War Horse has recently been adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg. The National Literacy Trust has encouraged the giveaway, explaining, "We are very supportive of McDonald's decision to give families access to popular books, as its size and scale will be a huge leap towards encouraging more families to read together."
Shockingly, the number of Happy Meals sold each month means that McDonald's is likely to be the biggest U.K. bookseller of the month. McDonald's will give out 9 million Mudpuddle Farm books over the next four weeks. Their faith in the appeal of books to children doesn't seem to be too strong, however, as the Happy Meals will also come with a finger puppet related to the Mudpuddle Farm series.
This isn't the first time McDonald's has tried to give Happy Meals a makeover. Last year the company announced that it would be decreasing the fat and calorie content of the meals, including fruit in the Happy Meal box and offering low-fat drinks as an alternative to the fizzy drinks also available. While these changes are generally believed to be marketing-driven, with recent data showing that 8 out of 10 British children visit McDonald's at least once a year, a more nutritional Happy Meal could make a big difference to the health of the next generation.
Image courtesy of Lia Toby/WENN.com.